Copyright 2013. Tripoli Log Church. All rights reserved.
The busiest time for the community of Tripoli was in the early years of the 1900’s. This was when the pine logging industry was in it highest activity in Wisconsin, and when settlements were springing up all over the northwoods.
Tripoli was one of the more important of these communities. The town was founded by Henry H. Stolle, who purchased 80 acres and began operating a sawmill. He also built homes for the workers, which created a new settlement in the northwoods. Very soon, other businesses also became established. Tripoli rapidly became a town with stores and taverns, restaurants and hotels, and schools for the children. The Soo Line Railroad established a stop at the edge of town, and like many communities in this part of the northwoods, Tripoli had a promising beginning.
The young town was a town made up mostly of immigrants. These were people who had come to the New World to begin a new life. The ones who settled in Tripoli were the ones who knew the lumber industry, which was the main occupation of the area at that time.
The founder had a vision for Tripoli’s future. Included in that vision was the need for spiritual guidance. A Christian congregation had already begun meeting in homes in the area, but Henry Stolle saw the need for a place of worship. He donated a parcel of land on which to build a church. Interestingly, despite the fact that Mr. Stolle owned a large sawmill and a lumber company; he instead decided to donate full logs with which to build the church. He wanted it to be a log church.
Log crafters began their work on the logs, shaping them and making the corner notches so they would fit tightly together. These were not to be squared logs, like many other log buildings of the era, but the full round logs. In the year 1917, the work was completed and the congregation began meeting in their new church building. They now had a house dedicated to the worship of God and for spiritual guidance and renewal.
With the passage of time and the change in the economy of the area, the busy and boastful days of the town of Tripoli disappeared. Most of the buildings fell into disrepair and were finally torn down. Most of the homes of the town, where loggers' families once lived, now stood empty. Many of these were eventually moved to the farms of the area to house new families who were establishing themselves in the new economy. These became homes for the families of farmers.
Driving through the village of Tripoli today, one can see little indication of the promise that it once held of becoming an established community. Much has disappeared. But one building has not.
The Log Church has not only survived, but it has continued as a thriving place of worship. We are not many people, but the church is nearly full every Sunday. The people who gather are happy in their worship of God and their study of the Scriptures.
Notice that I said that the church was nearly full every Sunday. I say that because there is still room for you! Why don’t you make a trip some Sunday to come and visit? If you are from the area and are looking for a church home, come and meet us. We would be glad to see you!
The Log Church of Tripoli, WI
A Short History